Eminem On Bush And Iraq Comments By

Eminem on Bush and Iraq: Comments by Hale and White

Philosopher Benjamin Hale responds to my posting about Eminem on Friday:

‘ There are more interesting implications of Eminem’s condemnation of the Iraq War. Eminem, if you remember, was at the center of a controversy a few years ago about some extremely homophobic imagery and references in his songs. Because of this, he found a fan base that more or less does not find compelling the arguments of traditionally liberal, civil rights activists. As well, Eminem has actively challenged Moby, a dance track musician who has outspokenly aligned himself with the more hipped out, peace loving, vegetarian crowd. That is, Eminem’s fan base tends to poo-pooh the arguments of the more politically sensitive hip-hoppers, which breaks down as a sort of rap-world street-feud of Hobbesians versus Rousseauvians that has been brewing since at least the mid-eighties. In a way, Eminem’s challenge to Bush suggests that Baptists and Bootleggers in the music industry can also be very good bedfellows. ‘

Benjamin Hale

Philosophy Department

SUNY at Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY 11794

Ben White sends in the following perceptive comments:

‘ Good piece on the Eminem song. Thought I’d share a few thoughts on the anti-war hip hop phenomenon.

Despite the continuing trend for most mainstream rap artists to focus lyrically solely on the standard commercial fare (clothes, jewellery, sex etc), there is a groundswell of anti-Bush/anti-war commentary emerging from the underground scene into the spotlight.

The Eminem song is good proof of this, as was the lyric by perhaps the US’ biggest rapper Jay-Z as early as last year, when he rhymed in the track ‘Beware of the Boys’, “We rebellious, we back home/Screamin’ ‘Leave Iraq alone!’”

In terms of an election effect, the fervently anti-Bush sentiment in urban black communities should be acknowledged. In the track ‘Down with Us’, featuring a whole host of well-respected artists, one line goes, “In the ghetto ‘No War’!/When people all around us are starvin’ and homeless/What is Bush focussed on?”

Even a very mainstream artist, Jadakiss, has released a successful track called ‘Why’, in which he raps, “Why they let the Terminator win the election? Come on, pay attention!” The video features protestors marching against a ‘surveillance’ society and war.

From the perspective of this column, this phenomenon is noteworthy, if only

because of the effect it might have on election day. One website urges a vote for Kerry in no uncertain terms – ‘Vote or Die!’ While the black urban vote might always have been traditionally Democrat, the ‘Bush effect’ could be interpreted as persuading the non-voter that this time it’s worth casting his ballot paper. ‘

Ben White

Churchill College, Cambridge, UK

Here are the complete lyrics to Mosh (thanks to Chris Thompson):


‘ [Intro]

[I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

And to the Republic for which it stands

One nation under God

Indivisible・

people…this is it…It feels so good to be back..]

[Verse1]

Scrutinize every word, memorize every line

I spit it once, refuel, reenergize, and rewind

I give sight to the blind, mind sight through the mind

I ostracize my right to express when I feel it’s time

It’s just all in your mind, what you interpret it as

I say to fight you take it as I’m gonna whip someone’s ass

If you don’t understand don’t even bother to ask

A father who has grown up with a fatherless past

Who has blown up now to rap phenomenon that has

Or at least shows no difficulty multi task

And juggling both, perhaps mastered his craft slash

Entrepreneur who has held long too few more rap acts

Who has had a few obstacles thrown his way through the last half

Of his career typical manure moving past that

Mister kiss his ass crack, he’s a class act

Rubber band man, yea he just snaps back

[Chorus]

Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness

As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed

Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,

Come with me, and I won’t stear you wrong

Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog

Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,

We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp

We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors..cum

on.

[Verse2]

To the people up top, on the side and the middle,

Come together, let’s all bomb and swamp just a little

Just let it gradually build, from the front to the back

All you can see is a sea of people, some white and some black

Don’t matter what color, all that matters is we gathered together

To celebrate for the same cause, no matter the weather

If it rains let it rain, yea the wetter the better

They ain’t gonna stop us, they can’t, we’re stronger now more then ever,

They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go,

Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know

Stomp, push up, mush, fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home come

on just . . .

[Chorus]

Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness

As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed

Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,

Come with me, and I won’t stear you wrong

Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog

Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,

We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp

We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors, come

on

[Verse3]

Imagine it pouring, it’s raining down on us,

Mosh pits outside the oval office

Someone’s trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying

we’re responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered

This is Bin Laden, look at his head nodding,

How could we allow something like this, Without pumping our fist

Now this is our, final hour

Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice

Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise

Try to amplify the times it, and multiply it by six

Teen million people are equal of this high pitch

Maybe we can reach Al Quaida through my speech

Let the President answer on high anarchy

Strap him with AK-47, let him go

Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way

No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil

No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain’t loyal

If we don’t serve our own country we’re patronizing a hero

Look in his eyes, it’s all lies, the stars and stripes

They’ve been swiped, washed out and wiped,

And Replaced with his own face, mosh now or die

If I get sniped tonight you’ll know why, because I told you to fight

[Chorus]

So come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness

As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed

Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,

Come with me, and I won’t stear you wrong

Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog

Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,

We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp

We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors

[Outro]

[Eminem speaking angrily]

And as we proceed, to mosh through this desert storm, in these closing statements, if they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president, for the present, and mosh for the future of our next generation, to speak and be heard, Mr. President, Mr. Senator

[End] ‘